In Spain, a protest against the new leftist government

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In Spain, a protest against the new leftist government

As the new leftist coalition government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez enters the office, tens of thousands of Spaniards have taken to the streets fearing the possible “break-up” of Spain.

The Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the smaller Left Unidas Podemos on Sunday introduced King Felipe VI. their ministers after getting the green light in parliament last week by a narrow majority. 167 MPs raised their hand for the government, 165 against them, mostly from the right.

“Long Live Spain, Long Live King”

Sánchez, who has been in power since June 2018, was given a new term as 18 advocates for the independence of the provinces of Catalonia and the Basque Country abstained. They did not vote because Sánchez promised them negotiations on the future of Catalonia, a province with a population of 7.5 million in the northeast.

Tens of thousands of Spaniards have come out in a coordinated protest against the government for the first time that Unidas Podemos, the only major party to support Catalonia's independence referendum.

In the town of Talavera de la Reina, 120 kilometers from Madrid, about a thousand people with Spanish flags came out before the city hall.

“We have been silent for a long time, but it is finally time to say what we think. This government could lead to the breaking up of Spain,” 50-year-old José Moreno told Hina during the protest. “Long live Spain, long live the King,” shouted the crowd as flags fluttered on a sunny, cold day. Protesters erected inscriptions “Spain exists”.

Similar gatherings were organized by civic associations and supported by the Vox Right Party, across the country.

Prime Minister Sánchez has agreed with the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), Catalonia's largest independence party, to set up a negotiating table. But he said that “Spain will not be broken” and that the talks will be conducted in accordance with a constitution that does not allow a referendum. The ERC, however, said it would discuss everything, including “self-determination.”

“Sánchez is in the hands of the Catalan and Basque separatists. We do not believe him. We are concerned about this situation,” protested Moreno in Talavera, in the province of Castilla La Mancha, the cradle of Spain.

“Spain exists and will exist”

In a place immortalized by writer Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote's novel, Sánchez's PSOE is in power. Protesters in the small square between Stone Cathedral and City Hall announce new gatherings “for a united Spain”.

Santiago Abascal, the leader of the right-wing Vox party that became the third political force in Spain in the November elections, gathered thousands in the Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid. There, too, Spanish flags fluttered in front of City Hall.

“Spain exists and will exist,” said Abascal, whose party has 52 members in the 350-seat parliament. Vox first entered the Spanish Parliament in April.

Spain received its first coalition government after 80 years last week, and new ministers will take their seats on Monday. It will be a minority government as PSOE and Unidas Podemos have a total of 155 MPs below the majority of 176 seats. When enacting the law, they could depend on smaller regional parties, such as the Catalan ERC and the Basque EH Bildu, advocates of the secession of Catalonia and the Basque Country.

In Spain, a protest against the new leftist government

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